Showings Are Up!

Here is a graph from Centralized Showing Solutions showing amount of showings in price ranges. Centralized Showings makes appointments for Realtor showings for 80 percent of houses listed in Pike Township. As you can see the showings between $60,000 and $160,000 are constant for the past 10 weeks. There was a peak about 10 weeks ago but things slowed down and now they are picking back up. I use charts like this to see if I am getting my share of showings on my listings.

Click Picture To Enlarge

Click Picture To Enlarge

What Are Closing Costs?

Survey on closing costs
I read online this morning a survey that was conducted by ClosingCorp that two in three millennials (18 to 34 years old) who plan to own a home are unaware of closing costs. It also said that 34 percent of potential homeowners are “Not Very” or “Not At All” aware of closing costs.

So…I thought I would try and explain closing costs if your were to buy or sell an average home in Pike Township for $125,000.

Closing costs are all the costs associated with buying or selling a home. Here is a list of some types of closing costs that can be in a transaction. It does not cover all closing costs. Each transaction is different.

Homeowner association dues
Homeowners associations (HOA) usually have yearly fees. For the most part they are due in the beginning of the year. If the home was sold in the middle of the year, the seller would get a credit from the buyer.

Homeowner association transfer fee
A fee charged by homeowner associations that are professionally managed and some that are self managed that covers the costs of paperwork involved in switching owners.

County property taxes
In Indiana property taxes are paid a year in arrears. Property tax payments are billed and due in May and November. If the May 2015 bill was paid, it covers January through June of 2014. The November 2015 bill payment covers July through December 2014. If the property closes today April 1st 2015, the seller owned the house from January 2014 through April 1st 2015 and would be responsible for the property tax. Since the buyer would get the property tax bill in May and November for the year 2014, the seller gives the buyer a credit for property taxes at closing. The credit would also cover January 1st through April 1st 2015. This is standard operating procedure at closings in Indiana. (See Escrows)

Seller paid closing costs to buyer
Depending on how the transaction was negotiated, the seller could end up paying some of the buyers closing costs. There a lot of variables here. Some of them are 1)How motivated is the seller to sell 2)Sellers are more incline to pay some of the closing costs of the buyer the closer the buyer is to offering list price for the home 3)how good is the buyers agent in negotiating.

Seller paid real estate brokerage commission fee
Traditionally the seller pays the brokerage sales commission. If there were a listing agent’s brokerage and a buyers agent’s brokerage involved, the total commission is split between the two companies. If the listing agent is representing both seller and buyer then the total commission goes to the listing agents brokerage.

Fees paid by buyer associated with getting the loan
– origination fee
This is the fee by the lender for getting you the loan

– appraisal fee
Lenders require that the property be appraised. This is the fee that the appraiser charges the bank which gets passed on to the buyer.

– credit report
This is a fee charged by the lender for getting the buyers credit report.

– tax service
A lender fee paid to a tax service provider for information on the real estate property taxes.

– flood certification
A lender fee for a document showing flood zone information.

– flood determination fee
A lender fee paid to the service providing information on whether the property is in a flood zone.

– daily interest charges
When your mortgage is due the 1st of the month you are actually paying for month before. If you bought and closed on a home April 1st, your first payment would be payment would be June 1st but the lender makes you pay interest on the loan from April 1st to the end of the month. This is why most closings are at the end of the month. Less interest paid by buyer.

Down payment
Depending on the type of loan, this could be anywhere from 3 percent of the sell price of the house to 20 percent or more. The lender will require this to get the loan.

Escrows
– property taxes
Part of the monthly mortgage amount contains an escrow amount for county property taxes. It is usually 1/12 of the yearly amount. It is held by the lender who pays the property tax bill. At closing the lender wants to make sure they have enough escrowed for the first property tax bill. They may require the buyer to put money in escrow in advance.

– insurance
Part of the monthly mortgage amount contains an escrow amount for home insurance that the lender requires. It is usually 1/12 of the yearly amount. It is held by the lender who pays the insurance bill. At closing the lender wants to make sure they have enough escrowed for the first indurance bill. They may require the buyer to put money in escrow in advance.

Lenders title insurance
Title insurance offers financial protection against title problems that could not be found in the public records, are inadvertently missed in the title search process, or those that may arise from fraud or forgery. The title policy a lender requires only covers the lender’s interest in a property.

Sellers title insurance
Title insurance offers financial protection against title problems that could not be found in the public records, are inadvertently missed in the title search process, or those that may arise from fraud or forgery.

Search exam fee / Title services fee
Title company charge to research and process the property.

Closing fee
Title company fee for the actual physical closing. This could be paid by the seller of buyer or split. Depends on how the transaction was negotiated.

TIEFF fee
The title insurance enforcement fund is established for the following purposes:
To pay the costs of hiring and employing staff in the area of enforcement of title insurance law.

Courier fee
Title companies won’t deliver there own documents because of liability. The hire delivery services to deliver documents and pass the costs on.

Attorney fee for deed/affidavit
This is the document that an attorney prepares that when signed transfers the property to the new owner.

Closing protection letter
Closing protection letter is essentially an agreement from a title insurance company to a lender that indemnifies the lender against any issues arising from a closing agent’s errors, fraud or negligence.

Wire fee
Title company fee charged to pay off existing loans.

Government recording charges
Lender mortgages and lender notes are usually recorded. The county charges fees for recording which get passed on by the title company.

Home warranty
If a home warranty was negotiated in the transaction it would be considered a closing cost.

Here is an example of buyer and seller closing costs on a $125,000 home;
Disclosure – PLEASE NOTE – Lenders and title companies charge different amounts for the same services. It is best to shop around for a lender. They are required by federal law to give you a Good Faith Estimate of loan costs after you apply. Ask your Realtor what title company they recommend and why. A listing agent usually has preliminary title work done (for free) when they list a house. This insures that there won’t be any last minute surprises about the ability to transfer a property right before closing. If a title company does preliminary title work up front, chances are that the listing agent and seller will want to close at that title company although it can be negotiated. This is just an example and these are just estimated numbers.

Seller closing costs


$125,000 Sale price
$  8,750 Brokerage commission
$    400 Sellers title insurance policy
$      5 TIEFF fee
$     25 Wire fee
$     50 Courier fee
$     60 Deed/Affidavit document
$    405 Seller agrees to buy buyer a home warranty
$    280 Search exam fee
$  2,000 Seller agrees to pay some of buyers closing costs
$  1,500 Seller's credit to buyer for property taxes
$     25 Closing protection letter
$    100 -credit- Buyer gives credit to seller for HOA fee
$     75 HOA transfer fee
$    150 Closing fee (shared equally by buyer and seller)
$ 67,225 Payoff of existing mortgage

$ 45,950 Net to seller (usually a check given to seller)

Buyer closing costs

$125,000 Sale price
$118,750 -credit- Lenders loan (95%)
$  2,000 -credit- Seller pays some of buyers closing costs
$  1,000 -credit- Buyer put earnest money down
$  1,500 -credit- from seller for property taxes
$  1,188 Loan origination fee
$     30 Lenders charge for credit report
$     70 Lenders tax service fee
$     20 Lenders flood certification fee
$    400 Lenders appraisal fee
$  1,292 Escrow prepaids (property tax and insurance)
$    225 Daily interest charges by lender
$    600 First years insurance on the house (paid in advance)
$    195 Lenders title insurance policy
$     78 Title company recording fee
$    475 Title company services fee
$      5 TIEFF fee
$    150 Closing fee (shared equally by buyer and seller)
$     75 HOA transfer fee
$    100 HOA dues from time of closing to end of year

$  6,253 Buyer would have to bring to closing*

There could possibly be other charges to buyer and seller. For instance, if the buyer had a home inspection done and wanted something fixed and the seller agreed. The home inspection price to the buyer would be about $300. The repair costs the seller would pay for.

* If the amount is over $10,000 then the buyer has to wire the funds to the title company.

Real Estate Showings in Pike Made Easy

Lock
When you list your house in Pike you got to have showings in order to sell it. Depending on the seller, this can be easy or challenging. If the house is vacant then the showings are easy. If the owner is living in the house then it can be more challenging. In order to show a house a Realtor must get permission. If they don’t and show a house they are trespassing.

Over the past 30 years the evolution of showings has changed drastically with the help of technology. Today it is done completely differently than in the past.

Showings 30 years ago required the following;
Buyer wanted to see a house.
Buyers Realtor would call listing brokerage office.
Listing brokerage would set the showing up.
Buyers Realtor would arrange to pick up the keys at listing brokerage office.
(Normally buyers want to see a number of houses at a time. The buyers Realtor might have to pick up several keys at several offices.)
Buyers Realtor shows the houses.
Buyers Realtor returns all the keys to all the offices.
Listing Realtor might call the buyers Realtor after the fact and try and get feedback info for the seller.

Then lock boxes entered the scene. 26 years ago this was the lock box that was used on my house in Pike when I bought it;
Lokbox

A simple device where most brokerages had the special key to unlock it. This saved Realtor’s from having to run around town collecting key for houses to show.

The next step in the evolution was the combo lock box. There are several different kinds. Here is one of the popular ones;
ComboLock

Now the Realtor did not have to worry about keys in order to get into the lock box. They just had to call the listing brokerage, identify themselves, get the ok to show and get the combo for the lock box.

13 years ago when I started technology had taken over. If you are a Realtor, you are a member of Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtor’s (MIBOR). If you pay your technology fee every year you are given a card, somewhat like a credit card that is programmed to use on the new types of lock boxes;

Sentrilock1

Sentrilock2

Some of these new lock boxes can be opened by a Realtor’s smartphone if programmed. Otherwise the credit card like card can open these locks with a programmed security code. Two great features of these locks are that the entry cards have to be renewed on very regular basis or they won’t work anymore. The other nice feature is that the lock box records who has opened it. That is a great security feature for sellers.

As with any free market when there is a need, somebody will figure out how to fill it. Brokerages did not want to handle showings. It is to time consuming and labor intensive. Companies started appearing nationally that would handle all showings for a brokerage for a price. It was reasonable enough for large and small brokerages to use. Now the listing office can enter in all relevant information on a new listing and not have to worry about keys or keeping track of showings. Today 80 percent of listings in Pike Township use Centralized Showing Solutions (CSS) in order to make an appointment for a showing. Centralized Showing Solutions has taken the technology a long way.

Currently if you want to make an appointment to show a house, you do the following;

Buyers want to see a house.
Buyers Realtor calls CSS.
Buyers Realtor identifies themselves and security code is checked.
CSS sets up the appointment and tells buyers agent how to get in (lock box type) and any other relevant instructions.
Buyers agent shows home.
Buyers agent get email from CSS asking for any feedback.
Feedback is sent to listing agent and seller if programmed.

CSS’s website for Realtor’s keeps track of all showings and feedback historically. It also allows the listing Realtor to send an email to all agents that have shown the property in case there was a price reduction or some other significant change in the property. This really saves the Realtor a lot of time.

Last year I came across a new type of lock box. I have only seen it on bank owned listed houses.

NewComboLock

I had an investor last year that bought a house that had this kind of lock on it. At closing they told him the lock was his to keep. Actually I think he paid BIG for it. There was a $299 non-negotiable fee that he had to pay to do the deal. Best I can tell the lock was worth about $100. Banks try and get any kind of money any way they can.

Which Way Will Pike Sales Go This Year?

I love doing research on Pike Sales. I have followed and looked for patterns for the past 10 years.

Click picture to enlarge

Click picture to enlarge

If you look at the chart closely you will see that Pike Sales take off at the beginning of the year and peak by June or July. The standard theory is that buyers don’t want to move during the school year and disrupt their kids. Usually the time to move is during the summer. From the time a buyer signs a purchase agreement until the time they close the deal is between 30 and 45 days. This puts the buyers who found their house in April closing in May or June about the time school is out. There is a secondary peak in sales although not as great usually in August, September and October.

The ten year chart gets pretty messy. Here is a chart that covers 2013 through now.

Click picture to enlarge

Click picture to enlarge

In 2014 we ended December with a up note. It carried through to January of 2015 beating out the past two years. February pulled back to match February of 2014. My guess is that February 2014 was slow because of the snow. I imagine the same for 2015.

Currently there is a high number of Pendings in Pike. That means we are likely to see sales go up in April and May. I have noticed an increase in showings in the past two weeks with my listings. Talking to other agents I hear the same thing. I will be watching.

My next posting will be about showings in Pike.

Woods of Traders Point

There is a new housing development in the works called Woods of Traders Point.

Woods Of Traders Point

Click on picture to enlarge

It is located just north of 71st Street and Marsh Road on the west side of the street. The utilities and the roads have been in the works for the past few months. At this point the roads and curbs are in and lots are ready for sale. I drove through the development yesterday. The community will have 70 lots, some of which currently have “sold” signs on them. Experience tells me that this may not be the case. A lot of time developers and builders put “sold” signs up in advance to attract attention. No houses have been started…yet.

I talked to the developer last year. He told me that the price point would be between $250,000 and $350,000. He predicted that they would sell out in two years. I would love to see that but the math does not add up. At the time the price point was only 7 percent of the market in Pike Township. I predicted 4 years and probably longer. I based it on Timberview, a development that is about at the same price point at 46th and Raceway. It was started in 2006 and is about 80 percent done. About 80 percent of houses sold in Pike Township are under $150,000. Only 20 percent of houses sold are above $150,000. That means if you are selling a house above $150,000 you have lost 80 percent of your buyers. Now I will give you that brand new houses attract more buyers and the location of Woods of Traders Point is good BUT I noticed the following sign on the development yesterday.

Click on picture to enlarge

Click picture to enlarge

Now the price point starts in the 290’s. So, if I say that now their price point is between $300,000 and $350,000 we are now talking about only about 2 percent (21 of 1084) of the market in Pike Township. Although I knew Westport was going to be the builder, they are not a “name brand” builder. The local Westport salesperson did not know that Westport had built in Pike 15 years ago. He thought this was their first development in Pike. Westport built homes in Robertson Village at 41st and Guion Road. Their signs were there for years. For the most part these were starter homes. I was unaware that Westport built homes in the $300,000 price point.

One thing that would help is if Westport has a model home. There was no indication that they would.

As much as I want to see this as a successful housing development for Pike Township, only time will tell.

Short Sales In Real Estate

What is a short sale?
Short Sale Sign
In 2002 when I first started in real estate I attended Tuesday morning sales meetings where the three broker/owners would teach agents the business. One Tuesday morning, one of the Brokers asked the following question; “What is a short sale?” An agent without hesitation answered “Any sales that Dave Short made.” Dave Short was and still is a LONG time agent with the company. There was laughter in the room.

WRONG!

Definition: A short sale occurs when a property is sold and the lender agrees to accept a discounted payoff, meaning the lender will release the lien that is secured to the property upon receipt of less money than is actually owed.

Example: If the unpaid balance of a loan is, say, $100,000 and a property sells for $90,000, under a short sale the lender might accept $90,000 as payment in full.

Is it difficult to get a lender to let the seller do a short sale?
Let’s say you bought a house for $110,000 and because of the economy it is now worth $90,000 fair market value. You still owe $100,000 so this makes you “upside down” or “under water”. You can’t sell the house without taking a loss and you don’t have the money to cover your loan even if it sells for $90,000. Depending on the lender, they may say, put it on the market at fair market value and then we will talk OR I have had a lender tell me to put it on the market at fair market value and they would have it appraised and it can be sold for 90 percent of the appraisal. Most likely the lender will send you a short sale packet. It will contain numerous documents to be filled out by the owner and Realtor. If you have the patience and time to fill out all the forms and get the house on the market and if your Realtor can present a case on the fair market value of the house then most likely the lender will listen and OK it. I have had homeowners that wanted to do a short sale, took one look at the forms that the lender sent them and said “forget it.”

Why would a lender not do a short sale?
It is a matter of math. Suppose you owed the lender $100,000. If the lender takes the house through foreclosure, their costs to do so equal about 33 percent of the loan. That means it would cost them about $33,000 to take it through foreclosure. If the property was sold for $90,000 through a short sale, the lender would only lose about $10,000. Now suppose the fair market value of the house was $60,000 and $100,000 was what was owed to the lender. In this case it would cost the lender less to foreclose on the property.

What can happen during a short sale?
Just about anything! How about the first lender in the middle of a negotiated buyer deal sells the property to another lender. It happened. We had to start all over again with the second lender. Because it took so long for the seller to redo the paperwork for the second lender, the buyer wanted out of the deal. How about when the lender said that all offers had to be 90 percent of appraised value or better and the buyer’s agent insisted that I send an offer to the lender which was about 86 percent of appraisal. I will never forget when the lender called me and gave me a verbal whipping. She almost pulled the plug on the whole short sale. Eventually the buyer made a better offer and the sale went through.

Lenders are not easy to deal with. It is their money and if you don’t do things their way, look out.

Why do short sales take so long?
Short answer, lenders are under staffed. How many times have you walked into your bank and found a teller that you could do business with right away? My bank? I am always waiting in line. Same goes for their back office staff. Remember the robo signing ordeal? Another factor I see is that when a bank gets an offer on a short sale property, they may hold it for a month or two before they make a decision. They may think they will get a better offer. They don’t realize that the buyer will walk if they think the lender is stalling. There is an agent in our office whose short sale took 17 months to close. This is extreme. Fortunately the buyer stuck it out.

Just like regular real estate sales, every transaction is different. There is no rhyme or reason to short sales.

Is there a downside to short selling?
If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable. From calendar year 2007 to 2014 the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act forgave that debt and it was not taxable. Consult the person that does your taxes for an answer in your case. I am not a tax expert or accountant.

Short Sale Chart

Asyou can see there were no short sales in Pike Township before 2009. Once the economy went south, lenders started allowing it. So far this year there are only 5.

Disclosure ; The raw dollar figures above in the article do not include closing costs which can vary. Some of the above information came from MIBOR’s Broker Listing Cooperative which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. I am not an attorney, appraiser, tax expert or accountant. I am just an experienced and good Realtor. Selling houses is all I do.

Investor Housing

SignOne segment of my business is investors. Over the years I have dealt with a lot of investors and still do. Investors are looking for inexpensive housing that usually needs repairs and updates. They usually plan to flip (fix up and resale at a profit) or rent for a profit. The types of houses they are interested in I call distressed sales. My definition of distressed is bank owned, HUD owned, VA owned, foreclosed, short sales or bankruptcy homes. When I started in 2002 there were very few of these types of homes. Most of these type of homes needed lots of repairs that could cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $20,000. It took a certain type of buyer that could pay cash for the home and fix it up. In many cases banks would not give loans on houses that were not immediately livable. At that time you could expect a 20 percent discount off market value for a distressed house listing.

DistressedChart

As you can see from the above chart, distressed sales climbed from about 5 percent in 2003 to about 35 percent in 2009. During this time there was a whole lot of new construction in Pike Township. You could get a new home with no money down and very low closing costs. The problem with new construction is that there are no property taxes the first year. Property taxes are usually included in the mortgage payment. By the second year property taxes get escrowed and make the mortgage payment s go up, sometimes as much as $200 a month. The homeowner can’t afford it and the home gets foreclosed on.

At the same time during that period, banks would do mortgages with no money down and if the buyer was breathing, they could get a mortgage. This brought out tons of buyers. In many cases the finances of these buyers was questionable and they probably should not have bought homes. The peak of the Pike market was in 2005. By 2007 the economy took a turn for the worst and distressed housing skyrocketed.

The market was flooded with distressed listings. Investors came out in droves. Prices dropped to sometimes 50 percent of what market value was in 2005. There was an extreme amount of flipping. At the same time non-distressed homeowners were losing all their homes equity because home values were dropping. In many cases they could not sell their homes and break even. Total sales in Pike went from 1642 in 2005 to 884 in 2010.

RentBuyBy 2010 there was a huge demand for rentals. Homeowners that had lost their homes during downturn could not buy new homes. They had to now rent until they could repair their credit which might take years. Real Estate Investment Trusts started coming into Indianapolis and buying 1000’s of homes. They were turning around and renting them. Even with strict guidelines about what they would buy based on return on investment, they bought many of the distressed homes on the market. They were not adverse to doing repairs and making the houses marketable to rent. In effect this took a lot of distressed homes off the market. At the same time it made a lot of homeowner associations pretty mad. They did not want rentals in their neighborhoods. This caused a lot of them to change their covenants to restrict rentals.

From 2011 with a high of distressed homes at 35 percent of sales to 2014 we dropped to 16.6 percent of sales. We are now currently sitting at about the same rate as at the peak of the market in 2005. The big difference is that in 2005 a total of 1642 homes were sold. In 2014 a total of 1083 homes were sold. I believe it will be a slow climb back to the sales level of 2005.

BLBottom line…it is harder and harder for me to find good homes for my investors. Yes, there are still distressed homes out there BUT the return on investment is getting squeezed. In the past when it was easy to get a reasonable profit on a house flip, now the numbers are getting harder and harder to work. With less distressed housing on the market the prices are getting higher and firming up. More and more when one of my investors makes an offer on a distressed house, there are multiple offers at the same time. If I don’t get my investors to the house the first day it is listed and make an offer, it will be sold quickly to another investor. That is why I review all new listings in Pike Township first thing every morning.

44 Moneymaking Tips For Preparing Your Home To Sell

HouseOnMoney

There’s no doubt about it: first impressions count with buyers. That’s why I prepared this 44 fail-proof list of simple, quick, and inexpensive things you can do to prepare your home to sale.
I divided them into three categories: 1) Exterior of home, 2) Interior of home, and 3) How to show your home for maximum profit.

Exterior Of Your Home

Overall, buyers are looking for a home that looks clean, neat, and well-maintained. By addressing exterior issues, you immediately give your buyers a positive “first impression.”

Here are 13 first impression items to examine:

 Tip #1: Get into your car and drive away from your home. Drive towards your home the way a potential buyer would. Notice your first impressions of your home. Is the landscaping well groomed? How about the driveway and curb? Can you easily see the architecture of the home, or is it blocked by trees and bushes. Notice your roof. Is it in good condition? Make a list of items that need attention.

 Tip #2: Paint your front door and mailbox. Polish your door and entry hardware.

 Tip #3: Make sure your doorbell is functional.

 Tip #4: Wash or thoroughly clean wood, aluminum, and vinyl sided homes. You can hire a contractor to pressure wash an entire house for about $200. Pressure washing can remove dirt, grime, peeling paint, and mildew.

 Tip #5: Rake leaves, trim shrubbery and trees, cut the lawn, and plant a few new, fresh flowers. Put down fresh mulch or peat moss around shrubs and flower beds.

 Tip #6: Sweep and hose off the walkways and driveways. Pressure wash if necessary.

 Tip #7: Clean the gutters and extend downspouts to prevent flooding or basement water seepage.

 Tip #8: Organize the garage. Get rid of clutter by either putting it in boxes, or pack ahead of time and rent a storage locker for your garage belongings. Make sure you wash your car.

 Tip #9: Check the locks of your home at both the entry, back entry, and garage. Locks can give a first impression of a home that needs maintenance. And they’re the first thing a buyer sees. A small dab of graphite will make them work like new.

 Tip #10: Clean oil stains from your driveway and garage. This is best achieved by using poultice with Portland cement. Scrub with a detergent and rinse. Clean rust stains beneath rails with the commercial product, Zud.

 Tip #11: Clean up any litter in the yard or walkways. Remove any leaves or debris in the yard or walkways.

 Tip #12: Touch-up the paint on the exterior of the home if necessary. In some cases, it pays to repaint the entire exterior if it hasn’t received a coat of paint in years. Hardwood trim on the exterior of the home can make or break its appearance. Make sure it looks clean.

 Tip #13: Look for any cracks in exterior plaster, and make sure they’re fixed and repainted to match exterior paint.

Interior Of Your Home

There’s a little known secret about home buyers that you need to know. People buy homes based on the emotional FEELINGS they get from the home. They fall in love, for example, with the kitchen or the master bedroom. Or perhaps the roaring fire in the family room fireplace touched off an old memory.

And while they’re viewing your home, they’re visualizing in their mind’s eye what it would be like to live there – the backyard barbecues they’ll host…Sunday dinners with family…college graduation celebrations of their children. Or simply relaxing in the backyard hammock.

It’s all about emotions. And if your home doesn’t feel right, you will quickly lose interest from buyers.

So remember this: Purchase decisions are EMOTIONAL. Once a decision to buy is made, we usually justify our purchase with logical reasons.

By staging the interior of your home right, you’ll encourage your buyers to stay. People buy with their eyes, ears and noses, and the longer they stay in your home, the greater the likelihood of an offer.

Here are 18 interior tips to help you “stage” the interior of your house so it feels like home to your buyers.

 Tip #14: The entry way sets first impressions. So make sure it’s in great condition with fresh paint and clean floors. If the entry tile floor has build-up, consider using a commercial stripper and re-waxing.

 Tip #15: Clear out about one-third to one-half of your furniture. You want your home to look uncluttered, and the rooms to feel open and bright. The average home has too much furniture for showing, and you need to move anyhow. So you might as well pack away any furniture that clutters any rooms in the home.

 Tip #16: Put away nick-knacks and items that make the home look overly personal to YOU. You do not want your buyer feeling that they would never fit in the home because it has so many of your personal items in it. Put away cluttered photos and other objects that will detract away from the home.

 Tip #17: Do a thorough interior maintenance review. Oil squeaky doors, tighten doorknobs, clean and repair ALL windows, and repair leaking taps and toilets. Look for chipped paint and cracked plaster or drywall that needs repairing.

 Tip #18: It is a good idea to have all windows professionally washed. And clean all window shades and blinds.

 Tip #19: Replace all burned-out light bulbs and clean lighting fixtures.

 Tip #20: GIVE YOUR HOME A SPACIOUS LOOK. If you’ve ever toured a model home, you’ve noticed that the home is spacious and bright. Make your home look the same by: 1) Clear out stairs and halls of clutter and excess furniture, 2) Clear counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, and 3) Make closets and storage areas neat and tidy.

 Tip #21: Make sure your home is clean by doing the following: 1) Shampoo carpets, 2) Clean washer, dryer, and laundry tubs, 3) Clean the furnace, 4) Clean the refrigerator and stove, 5) Clean and freshen the bathrooms. Hire a professional cleaning service if needed. The money you spend on these areas will come back to you in purchase price.

 Tip #22: Wax or polish floors, and glue down any seems if you have vinyl flooring.

 Tip #23: Make sure windows and doors operate properly and lubricate closet door tracks with a silicon spray.

 Tip #24: Glue loose wallpaper seams and remove soiled wallpaper.

 Tip #25: Clean around fireplaces and remove ashes.

 Tip #26: Organize all closets, pack up unnecessary items for storage, and put all toys away.

 Tip #27: Make sure all beds are made, bedrooms are neat and clean, and laundry is clean and folded.

 Tip #28: Consider holding a yard sale BEFORE you place your home on the market to get rid of excess items that can make your home look cluttered or small.

Bathrooms and kitchen are some of the most influential areas of a home. Spending a small amount of money in these areas frequently nets owners many times their investment. Here are a few suggestions for each.

 Tip #29: Your Bathrooms. Repair loose tiles. Remove loose grout using a grout file, and apply new grout. Faded tile colors can be improved using an epoxy spray. Remove old tub and tile caulking with a hooked scraper, install new white silicone tub, and tile caulk. Concentrate on areas such as counter corners, shower corners, and base of toilet. Clean mildewed caulk by spraying Tilex, or use diluted chlorine bleach and let stand for at least 30 minutes before rinsing. Old tubs can often be sprayed with an epoxy coating. Remove all soap scum and dirt build-ups. Again, diluted chlorine bleach will help here. Clean glass doors with vinegar, and replace badly soiled shower curtains. Don’t forget to vacuum exhaust fans.

 Tip #30: Your Kitchen. Clean ovens thoroughly. Clean cook tops and exhaust fans. Remember to clean behind your appliances. Double-check all burners to make sure they’re working. Defrost freezers, and thoroughly clean the interior of your refrigerator. Remove mold from refrigerator gaskets. Empty the water collection tray under the refrigerator. Neatly arrange soaps and cleaning accessories. Thoroughly wash fronts of cabinets using Murphy’s Oil Soap or Pine Sol. Cover counter burns with ceramic tile or heat resistant glass. Make sure all handles are securely in place. Install new shelf and drawer liners.

 Tip # 31: Save your receipts. If you need to make substantial repairs to your home, save the receipts in a manila envelope. This will show what has been updated in the home.

How To Show Your Home For Maximum Profit

There’s a right way to show a home…and a wrong way. Many homeowners lose money, or turn-off buyers because they simply didn’t know how to handle a home showing. Here are 13 tips that will help you show your home for maximum profit:

 Tip #32: Save those receipts. If you completed any substantial work on your home, save the receipts and ONLY take them out if someone questions the value of the work performed (in the negotiating process). Many times extra work will increase the value of your home beyond your costs. So only use the receipts if you need support to justify the work.

 Tip #33: Save those utility bills. Buyers frequently have questions about utility costs of owning a home. If you have past utility bills, you will greatly increase your credibility and help provide precise answers to important questions. Save electric, gas, water, oil, sewage, and waste management bills.

 Tip #34: Go away during organized showings. Three’s a crowd when your home is being shown. The only exception to this rule is if you have specific knowledge about features of the home a Realtor cannot answer. But in most cases, don’t stay.

 Tip #35: Turn on ALL lights. Illumination is like a welcome sign.

 Tip #36: Open all drapery and bring in as much natural light as possible. Buyers hate dark homes. Anything you can do to brighten your home will help.

 Tip #37: Turn off any radios and TV’s. Turn off the football game. Tell the kids that the loud music will need a reprieve while the home is being shown. Occasionally very soft, background music can enhance a showing. But generally, no music at all is your best bet.

 Tip #38: Plan a pleasant aroma. Cinnamon sticks or vanilla boiled in a pot of water on the stove emit pleasant aromas and make a home smell inviting. Apple and cherry wood smoldering in a fireplace do the same. And who can resist the smell of apple pie or fresh bread baking in the kitchen. Often, these pleasant smells can override other odors your home may have.

 Tip #39: Keep pets out of the home during showings. It’s best to keep them out of the home for an entire day before an open house.

 Tip #40: Do NOT volunteer conversation. Be courteous but don’t force conversation with a potential buyer. They want to inspect your home, not make a social call.

 Tip #41: Stay positive: Never apologize for the appearance of your home. Let the showing Realtor answer any objections – they’re trained to know how.

 Tip #42: DO NOT Tag Along. It makes buyers fearful and uncomfortable. The showing Realtor knows the buyer’s requirements and can better emphasize the features of your home. They will call you if needed.

 Tip #43: Never negotiate during a showing. Let your Realtor discuss price, terms, possessions, and other items with any potential buyers. If any negotiations arise prior to an offer, politely request the buyer to submit an offer and you can consider it.

Tip #44: Protect Your Largest Investment By
Getting REALTOR® Representation